Just before Passover in Jewish households, we prepare our homes for Passover by removing all of the chametz of leaven from our households. In order to get our children to help find any leaven that might be hidden in the house, my mom made the search into a game, like a quest. We would search in every nook and crack for any hidden breadcrumbs, etc. The child that found the most Chametz would receive a prize. This made the search more exciting for us children and also encouraged us to look in places that we might have otherwise not looked.
As an adult we continue to search through our homes to find hidden chametz and while searching our homes I also make an effort to search my heart for any leaven or sin which might have also fallen into the cracks or crevices out of sight and mind.
Recently while speaking with a friend, I was challenged by a statement that he made. We were in a group of friends who were discussing various worship experiences. The group consisted of believers in Yeshua (Jesus) who were new to their faith as well as others like myself who have been believers for nearly 40 years. The discussion began when one of the participants began sharing about their powerful experience with G-D. When he finished sharing, another person began to share one of their memories, and it kept going one by one as each person there shared one of their favorite personal reminiscences.
The discussion went on for a while as one person after another continued to share their personal stories of G-D’s impartation of His presence in our worship services. Then suddenly one of those who had been standing with us the entire time spoke up and asked a question. They asked what made these experiences so powerful and memorable. One by one those who shared began to answer saying things like “You could feel the presence of G-D in the place.” or “I felt the Spirit of G-D in an almost tangible way.”
Once those who responded to his question finished sharing, the person who asked the first question, asked a second question. It was this question that challenged me so strongly. He asked would G-D’s presence have been any less powerful if you didn’t feel it? In other words, do we lift our hands in worship because we feel the presence of G-D or because He is G-D? Do we sing with joy because we feel the presence of G-D or because He is G-D? Do we jump and dance because we feel the presence of G-D or because He is G-D?
He went on to ask the group if we didn’t feel G-D would we still worship Him? Were those worship experiences powerful, because we were worshipping G-D or because we were driven to respond to a feeling or stimulus? If we were responding to a stimulus or feeling then were we even worshipping G-D or were we worshiping our feeling?
This challenge has caused me to see hidden chametz in my life and challenged me to remove it. I will now sing with all my heart not only when I feel G-D, but also because I know He is ever present. I will lift my hands in praise not in response to feelings brought on by song, but because G-D is always worthy to be praised. My praise will not be a response to a stimulus, similar to my dog’s reaction to my arrival home or when holding a treat out for him. Instead, my intention is to praise G-D because He is G-D. If my praise is in response to anything else then it falls short of worshiping only G-D.